In support of World Mental Health Day on the 10th October, Nottingham College’s Wellbeing team put together a week-long timetable of activities for staff and students to get involved in, including Tai chi, Yoga, Meditation, Boxing, and even a ‘Laugh Yourself Happy’ session.
Helping the College raise awareness about this important subject was 18-year-old Emma Askey, who is studying 3D Design and Architecture. She has been battling with mental health since she was just 10 years old. After being bullied at school she started to self-harm and at the age of 16 she was diagnosed with chronic depression.
She said: “Because I was so young I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way or if it was just normal, so I kept it all in and didn’t tell anyone about it. It wasn’t until I got to secondary school when my self-harm had been going on for a few years that I finally tried to get help. After seeing the district nurse at school I was put in touch with a counsellor who I have been seeing ever since.
“Now I feel so much better. Starting College has been like a fresh start and the staff here are so supportive, especially my Achievement Coach James who is always around to talk to if I’m struggling with my work or if I need some advice. Having somebody there to speak to takes away the worry which really helps.
“I think it’s great that the College is doing things to raise awareness about mental health because, although it’s much more accepted in society now, it’s still one of those quiet subjects that people don’t fully understand and therefore avoid speaking about it. For me the hardest part was to open up to people, but as soon as I did, things started to improve, and now I’m doing well. I love College and my course, and I can finally look forward to my future and not be afraid of it.”
Wellbeing Manager, Laura Archer, said: “Mental Health Day is really important to us because we know that so many of our students struggle with their mental health and wellbeing. We want to give them the skills and opportunities to get into really good habits before they go on to work or university, so events like this help because they spark an important conversation between staff and students, and make people more aware about the help and support available to them at College.”